Chapter 13 Race & Ethnicity

Chapter 13 Race & Ethnicity - Chapter 13 Race &...

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Chapter 13 The Myth of Race Race can be defined as a group of people who share a set of characteristics—usually physical ones—and are said to share a common bloodline. Racism is the belief that members of separate races possess different and unequal human traits. Race is a social construct that changes over time and across different contexts. To be white in America, for example, went from being a somewhat inclusive category in the late eighteenth century to being much more narrowly defined in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and then shifted back to a broader definition in the mid-twentieth century. All these changes were in response to social realities. The Concept of Race from the Ancients to Alleles In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the idea of race did not exist as we know it today. People recognized broad physical differences between groups of people, but they did not discriminate based on those differences. As Europeans came into contact with different peoples and cultures during the Age of Exploration, racism was used to justify the conquest and colonization of foreign lands. In the nineteenth century there were a number of scientists and thinkers researching and attempting to "explain" racial differences. Many of their efforts were biased due to ethnocentrism (the judgment of other groups by one's own standards and values) so they were in truth "explaining" white superiority. Social Darwinism , another nineteenth-century theory, was the notion that some groups or races evolved more than others and were better fit to survive and even rule other races. Backers of eugenics (the science of genetic lines and the inheritable traits they pass on from generation to generation) claimed that traits could be traced through bloodlines and bred into (for positive traits) or out of (for negative traits) populations. This thinking influenced immigration policy in the early twentieth century when undesirable populations were kept out of the country so they wouldn't pollute the "native" (i.e. white) population. The one-drop rule, which evolved from U.S. laws forbidding miscegenation, was the belief that "one drop" of black blood makes a person black. Application of this rule kept the white population "pure" and lumped anyone with black blood into one category. Today DNA testing is used to determine people's racial makeup, and while this process
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Chapter 13 Race & Ethnicity - Chapter 13 Race &...

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